Friday, February 12, 2010

Marini: Concilium "dealt with doctrine"

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, in "The Consilium revisited" (WDTPRS, February 11, 2010), says that in his recent reading, he happened upon a passage in the small but interesting volume that came out a couple years back under the name of the former long-time papal master of ceremonies, Archp. Piero Marini (Piero Marini, not Guido Marini, the present MC). The book in question is A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975(Liturgical Press, 2007), written largely, according to Fr. Z, by Jesuit liturgist Keith Pecklers and Mark Francis, CSV. The book, says Fr. Z,
purports to tell the story of the glorious work of the Consilium, the entity established during the Second Vatican Council to implement the liturgical reform mandated in Sacrosanctum Concilium. The Consilium was headed up by Annibale Bugnini and Card. Lercaro.

The authors set out to defend the work of the Consilium and Bugnini against the dangerous encroachment of Pope Benedict’s vision, and the retrograde force he is exerting on the Spirit of Vatican II.

In presenting their uplifiting story, the authors produce an unintended consequence: they expose clearly what the liturgical reforms were actually trying to accomplish.

But enough of that.

Here is the passage I wanted to share. Context: The Consilium has just just taken a major step in moving from an informally meeting group to an officially and formally established body. They have their first plenary session.
"They met in public to begin one of the greatest liturgical reforms in the history of the Western church. Unlike the reform after Trent, it was all the greater because it also dealt with doctrine." (p. 46)
Fr. Z adds:
They succeeded. The work of the Consilium, in revising the Missale Romanum, did indeed change the Church’s doctrine. Change they way you pray and you change what you believe… and vice versa.

Change the liturgy, change the world.

Whether this was a good change or not is a matter of discussion.
Well, ... anybody's guess as to what Fr. Z thinks.


thomas tucker said...

It may have "dealt" with doctrine in some sense but I don't think it changed doctrine.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Pecklers is bad news. He is a progressive who, instead of behaving consistently and leaving the Church during the 70s, as did so many of his priest-proletarian buds, wormed his way deep into the ecclesial academic burrow in Rome, and from that protective cocoon has done everything in his power to advance Bugnini's agenda. Dear old Fr Joe would probably call him a man of "style and verve".

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

The work of Bugnini and Pecklers has put countless souls in jeopardy by subverting the very idea of liturgy. In their hands, liturgy became narcissistic innovation -- anti-liturgy, if words mean anything anymore. I suspect that Benedict's flawed and inconsistent vision cannot survive its own inconsistency, which cuttlefish periti like Pecklers, carrying out the wishes of the vast majority of bishops and cardinals in today's ecumenical Church of God, will use against it.

Sheldon said...

"... I don't think it changed doctrine."

I think it did. You don't have to announce to the world that you're changing doctrine to change doctrine. All you have to do is change the liturgy to sideline Jesus and put celebration (as in "Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music ...") front and center.

Corleonis said...

You seem to forget the little detail of the Holy Spirit being in charge of the Church.

God cannot deceive nor be deceived, gentlemen.

thomas tucker said...

sheldon- can youprovide specific examples?

thomas tucker said...

sheldon- can you provide specific examples of how the Novus Ordo Mass changed doctrine?

Dan said...

RRD said, "I suspect that Benedict's flawed and inconsistent vision cannot survive its own inconsistency..."

Care to expand on that?

Sheldon said...

Without prejudice to Corleonis' brief in behalf of the Holy Spirit, I reply to Thomas Tucker's request for examples. Where do I start? I offer two.

First, to take JUST ONE EXAMPLE of symbolism, if you change the symbol, you change the experienced reality and, thence, the doctrine, thusly: When you have a celebrant sticking his ass toward Christ behind him in the tabernacle and genuflecting toward the assembled "community," you've changed the symbolism and effectively spiritualized Christ's real presence in the tabernacle and on the altar. Never mind what the Church continues to teach about the real presence. What people experience is now a Protestant version of Christ's presence as something unspecific, nebulous, 'spiritual.' Jesus is everywhere, and no place uniquely. While there may be exceptions like you and me, this, I submit is what many Catholics experience as a result of the seditious changes of Bugnini and Co.

Second, if you want details, here is, again, JUST ONE EXAMPLE: the work of Lauren Pristas -- "Theological Principles that Guided the Redaction of the Roman Missal" (1970)," The Thomist 67 (2003): 157-95; "The Orations of the Vatican II Missal: Policies for Revision," Communio: an International Catholic Review, 30:4 (Winter, 2003): 621-653; "The Collects at Sunday Mass: An Examination of the Revisions of Vatican II" Nova et Vetera, 3:1 (Winter, 2005): 5-38; "The Pre- and Post-Vatican II Collects of the Dominican Doctors of the Church" New Blackfriars, 86, n. 1006 (November 2005): 604-625. Nobody comes out and says: "We're changing doctrine," but effectively that's the achievement.

Sheldon said...

T. Tucker,

A more interesting avenue might be to ask Fr. Z what HE thinks.

thomas tucker said...

I'll look at those but I have read someof her other work examining the Collects of Advent, and I have seen nothing that changes doctrine, as opposed to changing the emphasis of a doctrine.

Sheldon said...

On changing doctrine vs. changing the emphasis of doctrine.

That's a subtle nuance that keeps intact the infallible teaching authority of the Church, I admit. But I'd like you to address the net effect of changing the emphasis of doctrine. I'm not even getting into the question of motives here.

Let's imagine the priests and people in Old Testament times continuing to teach that the Holy of Holies is a "sacred space" containing the Ark of the Covenant covered with a gilded lid known as the "mercy seat" for the Divine Presence. But instead of permitting only the high priest to enter in once a year on Yom Kippur to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense before the mercy seat, they permitted Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Sacrifice -- mostly elderly matrons -- to trapse in any time of the year wearing their pedestrian clothes, does this involve a change of doctrine? Formally, no. Will it change what people believe? You tell me.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Dan, you intrepid apologist. My comments on this subject have been all over this blog for several years. If you are so interested in drawing me out, Sherlock, pull your magnifying glass out of whatever serves as its sheathe and read them.

thomas tucker said...

SHeldon- interesting question. I sympathized with your view. However, one could argue, per your example, that one way results in a view of God as holy but remote and unapprocahcble, whereas the other rsults in a view of God as being more merciful and loving at the risk of de-emphasizing our humility before His holiness. Either way is a difference in emphasis but not a change in doctrine and either taken to its extreme will result in heresy.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Mr. Tucker,

If I can step into the discussion here, I'm not quite sure I follow. In your last remark, you seem to be construing the difference between the EF and OF of the Roman Rite as basically having a difference in emphasis, the former as emphasizing God's remote holiness, the latter as emphasizing God's proximate mercy.

While I guess I can see what you mean, I'm not sure that get's at some of the things I see in Sheldon's previous comment that seem to me to have more to do with what I would call "liturgical de-sacralization." Now the question of liturgy aside, this raises some interesting questions for me, so permit me to offer an example from children's literature.

In C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Book I: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Mr. Beaver is explaining to Susan and Lucy who Aslan is:

"Is--is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion--the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mr. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

If people were led to believe that God is "safe" because His "goodness" consists in giving them what they want (like an indulgent Uncle who winked at their sins), would that belief conform to Church teaching?

Alternately, let me put it as a question: What would constitute a change in doctrine, in your view?

thomas tucker said...

PP- I have been maintaining that the PR did not change any doctrine demonstrated in the EF. That it did change doctrince is what some people claim. Sheldon gave his example, which to me does not illustrate a change in doctrine at all , but a different emphasis on doctrine, when extrapolated to the Catholic liturgy. Perhaps he was making a side point about de-sacralization and that it would ultimately lead to a change in doctrine, but again my claim is about the OF as it stands not changing doctrine found in the EF.
I still would like to see some concrete examples of where the OF has changed docrine.

Sheldon said...

"I still would like to see some concrete examples of where the OF has changed doctrine."

Tucker, would you recognize a "change in doctrine" if it walked up and slapped you in the face? You seem to want an official text stating that "we now teach x, whereas we used to teach not-x." You're not going to find that.

The closest may be Cardinal Ottaviani's statement about the new Mass to Pope Paul VI: “...the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.”

But you're unlikely to view that as a "change in doctrine."

But look. The NO suppresses or ambiguates the distinctively Roman doctrinal elements of Mass as Sacrifice, Marian intercession, just as Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer did, to the point that English Catholics protested the NO when it was introduced, because, they said, it was less Catholic than even the Cranmer's Anglican liturgy, which their forefathers went to the scaffold to avoid.

If there are sins of omission, as well as of commission, it seems to me that doctrine can be changed as easily by omission as by introducing explicitly new teachings.

I do see, however, that in Fr. Z's combox, you admit that the NO "may have changed the emphasis or orientation of doctrine," and that "the examples linked to above by Prof. Pristas are very interesting in that regard." Keep reading, and let me know what you think. Maybe we're not as far apart as I first thought.

thomas tucker said...

There are explicit references in the OF liturgy to the Mass as sacrifice , as well as asking for the intercession of Mary and the saints so I still fail to see where the Mass changed doctrine.
It seems to me that those who take your approach are really objecting to the simplification of the rite more than anything else. Again, there are explicit references to the Holy Sacrifice in the reformed liturgy; these are not sins of omission, just simplification.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Mr. Tucker,

In addition to "simplifying" the rite, I would add (to your response to Sheldon) that those who object to the NO on the grounds that it "changed doctrine" are probably also objecting to its "shifts in emphasis" -- a point you also concede earlier in this comment box.

The NO clearly includes references to Mary ("... and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God") and Sacrifice ("Lord God, we ask you to receive us and be pleased with the sacrifice we offer you"). When the two missals are compared side-by-side, however, there is no question that there is a shift in emphasis, perhaps even a de-emphasis. Perhaps one finds even a less-exalted emphasis on the Real Presence. While the Memorial Acclamation, "When we eat this bread and drink this wine," comes directly from 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 and is theologically unproblematic (as explained by Catholic Answers here), those who point out its literal oddity, coming right after the Consecration, may have a point.

What effect these and other "shifts in emphasis" have on those who hear this form of the Mass regularly is a good question, though it seems to me that the question of comparative theological and liturgical integrity could conceivably be answered on other grounds than this.

Pertinacious Papist said...


I also agree with your point about the parallels between the Anglican liturgy and the NO at points. If one reads the Anglican (or Episcopalian) liturgy in the Book of Common prayer, one sees also references to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but there is considerable ambiguity as to what this "Sacrifice" signified. This was deliberate. In the Elizabethan settlement, Catholics were required to attend Anglican state-church services and the Catholic Mass was forbidden, so it was important to Queen Elizabeth that her "mass" -- the Anglican liturgy -- be as "inclusive" as possible. In other words, it had to be sufficiently ambiguous so that Protestants and Catholics in the same service could each "read into" the liturgy what they wanted to find in it.

I worry sometimes that there could be elements of just this kind of ambiguity in the NO, insofar as it is a product of compromise between modernist and conservative factions hammered out in committee. Is it sufficiently ambiguous that a dissident Catholic who rejects the notion of the Real Presence, for example, could be comfortable with the rite? It's an honest question that some have raised, at least.

thomas tucker said...

PP- yes, I think there is a shift in emphasis, but no change in doctrine, which was my original statement.
Furthermore, having grown up as a Baptist, I can say that there is more than enough reference to the Mass as sacrifice, and attention to the Real Presence, that the OF would be seen as quite blasphemous to a believing Baptist.

Dark Horse said...

A babtist would be scandalised by an Epicopalian mass.

Shift/change, schlip/schlange.

What's the difference?

thomas tucker said...

Don't know about an Episcopal service as I've never been to one.
As for the difference between shift in emphasis versus change, if you don't know, I can't help you.

Dan said...

Touche! Roister, but I don't intend to do research on what you've said elsewhere. After posting my comment I did stumble upon something that gave me an idea of what you were on about and realized immediately my vulnerability to your barbs.

Dark Horse said...

And if you can't see how a shift can also be a kind of change, I can't help you.

Thomas Tucker said...

Well, then we are both helpless I guess.
May God preserve us.